The Arlington Players And Then There Were NoneBy Laura & Mike Clark • Feb 4th, 2008 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of The Arlington Players’ production of And Then There Were None [MP3 6:54 3.2MB].
The Arlington Players
Thomas Jefferson Theater, Arlington, VA
$15/$12 Senior & Junior
Through Feb. 16
Laura: This is the ShowBizRadio.net review of And Then There Were None, performed by The Arlington Players in Arlington, Virginia. Mike and I saw the performance on Saturday evening, February 2, 2008.
Mike: This was an OK show. It really didn’t turn out the way I thought it could have. The Arlington Players usually do great shows, but for some reason there was something wrong with this production. There was much laughter coming from the audience and even though some of the lines were funny, but some of the laughter was at a point that wasn’t supposed to be funny.
Laura: I came away asking myself if this was supposed to be a comedy or a drama. I thought Agatha Christie’s plays were supposed to be dramas, but there was something going on in the audience. They were just howling at some points that were not supposed to be funny. I did notice that this weekend there were some dramatic pauses that happened and the show went right on.
Mike: And Then There Were None is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie, first published in the UK in November 1939 and in the US in 1940. It is Christie’s best-selling novel with 100 million sales to date, making it the world’s best-selling mystery. Ten people, each with a deadly secret, find themselves trapped on an island where they become the subjects, and ultimately the victims, of a cruel game based on a nursery rhyme “Ten Little Indians.”
Laura: The director for And Then There Were None was Arthur Rodger. In the Director’s notes in the playbill Rodger talks about how he Americanized the story by bringing it to the East Coast of Maine. Unfortunately I don’t think he totally Americanized it enough. One of the actors, Mr. Marston (played by Russell Berry) used the phrase ‘Wizard’ or a ‘Wizard’ ride. I had to look this up to see what he meant by ‘Wizard.’ It means excellent, but it is a British term, not an American term.
Mike: The wizard adjective did not fit for an Americanized show. Another thing that kind of jumped at us was a line in the actual poem is “Five little Indian boys going in for law, one got in Chancery and then there were four.” What in the world is Chancery? We looked it up and it is another British term for a part of the British court system. I think if you’re going to try to Americanize the play, you need to do more than just the locations. They did a good job with changing the location references to Boston and New York, but some of the other words in the show weren’t converted over to American terms and that was a distraction.
Laura: Vera Elizabeth Claythorne, Mrs. Owen’s secretary, was played by Jessica Sperlongano. She did a good job. She had a very convincing scene towards the end of the play. She went upstairs to get something and screamed when she thought she was being grabbed. Then she came downstairs and fell apart. That scene was very well acted with Blakeman Brophy, playing Philip Lombard.
Mike: Another performer I enjoyed was the character of Judge John Wargrave, played by David Van Ormer. He was trying to be the head detective and figure out what was going on by questioning everyone. Unfortunately when he did that scene, he had his back to the audience. They were talking out to us, but when he was doing his lines you couldn’t see him at all. That was distracting and bad form. Later in the show, as the number of victims increased, he did a good job of staying in control of himself. In the closing moments of the show when the murderer was revealed, he did a good job in that scene as well.
Laura: Someone who deserves an honorable mention was Omar Selah, who played Fred Narracott. He was on stage for all of ten minutes at the start of the show, and then had to stick around for the entire show to come out at the end for his curtain call. He was the guy who brought the luggage from the boat to the island for everybody. That was his only scene.
Mike: I liked the basic set. It was designed by Peter Finkel, based on the concept of the director, Arthur Rodger. You could see the backdrop and the lighting through the window and door in the one wall. The lighting was very nicely done. The lighting was done by AnnMarie Castringo. It actually got darker as the first scene went on since it was becoming night time. The fade to darkness was very subtle, but a nice effect. That was a nice attention to detail.
One thing I think they could have done which would have really helped with the spookiness, or the mystery of the show since the stage of the Thomas Jefferson Theater is so large, it would have been great if they had made the stage smaller every time there was a scene change. There were three acts and two of the acts had two scenes. So as the tension mounted they could have moved the stairs which were on stage right, in a little bit and moved the actual furniture closer together, and then pulled the curtains from the left and right in a little bit to make it a smaller area in order to make it feel more constrained and more tense with all the people not knowing what was going on and feeling like things are creeping in on them.
Laura: At the beginning of the play they had all the actors come out and freeze. Then the unknown voice read the Ten Little Indians poem from off stage. The lights were kind of up on everybody and then as they were identified the lights would go down on that person. I thought that was an interesting touch. It kind of added to the spookiness of it.
Mike: One thing I wasn’t sure about was they removed the lights from the person a each line of the poem was read, but they did it in the same order as the show so if you were on the ball you would know what was going to happen next in the show. I’m not sure I liked that or not because it gives a little bit away.
Laura: And Then There Were None ran approximately two hours and fifteen minutes with one intermission. It is playing through Saturday, February 16th. Friday and Saturday at 8 PM and one Sunday matinee on the 10th at 2:30 pm at the Thomas Jefferson Theater in Arlington, Virginia.
Mike: If you’ve seen this production, we’d love to hear your thoughts about it. Simply leave a note here at ShowBizRadio.net. We’d also like to invite you to join our free mailing list.
Laura: And now, on with the show.
- Thomas Rogers: Cal Whitehurst
- Ethyl Rogers: Gail Seavey
- Fred Narracott: Omar Selah
- Vera Elizabeth Claythorne: Jessica Sperlongano
- Philip Lombard: Blakeman Brophy
- Anthony James Marston: Russell Berry
- William Henry Blore: Mark Lewis
- General John Gordon MacKenzie: George Krumbhaar
- Emily Caroline Bent: Paula Vickers
- Judge John Lawrence Wargrave: David Van Ormer
- Dr. Edward Armstrong: James Walsh
- Ulick Norman Owen: Neil McElroy
- Producer: John Segota
- Director: Arthur Rodger
- Stage Manager: Lee Zahnow
- Associate Stage Manager: Dina Green
- Set Design: Peter Finkel
- Set Painting: Peter Finkel
- Master Carpenter: Peter Finkel
- Technical and Design Advisory: Jared Davis
- Set Concept: Arthur Rodgers
- Costume Design and Coordination: Barbara Esquibel
- Lighting Design: AnnMarie Castrigno
- Sound Design: Brian Vargas
- Assistant Sound Design: Bill Wisniewski
- Set Dressing and Decoration: Avery Burns
- Properties Design: Avery Burns
- Makeup and Hair Design: Arthur Rodgers
- Script Adaptation: Arthur Rodgeres
- Set Construction Crew: Mike deBlois, Hank Drahos, Richard Garey, William Kolodrubetz, Arthur Pleasants, Pete Silvia, Bill Wisniewski
- Set Painting Crew: Amanda Acker, Karinn Cologne, Barbara Esquibel, Ellie Lockwood, John Segota
- Stage Crew: Amanda Acker, Ellie Lockwood
- Light board Operator: Joni Hughes
- Auditions: Amanda Acker, Karinn Cologne, Barbara Esquibel, Dina Green
- Program: Dave Moretti
- Box Office: Ed Wilde
- Graphic Artist: Stephanie Spooner
- Photography: Fred Alvarez
- Lobby Display: Julian Lockwood, Ed Wilde
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/2160.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.